Reptiles shown at library

Published 9:15 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There were gasps and a few shudders from wriggling children as Reptile Wrangler Ken Panse presented his slithering menagerie of exotic animals at the Gilbert H. Gragg Library Tuesday morning summer reading program.

Always an animal lover, Panse used to own an aquarium shop in his hometown of Douglasville, Georgia. He said when the movie Jurassic Park came out it changed his life.

He set out on the road with the travelling reptile show 15 years ago, primarily making presentations at schools, and will reach 2000 shows this summer.

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On Tuesday he brought six creatures from his collection of two dozen and gave the children good scientific information about each of the animals.

First out of the bag was Goliath, a four-pound South American toad, followed by a creepy Tarantula who rested peacefully on his hand. A dragon named Sydney, because of his Australian origin was next. No show would be complete without a snake and the children were in awe of Skittles the King snake, which prompted the saying of how to tell a King snake from the venomous coral snake by the placement of the colored bands.  “Red on black – a friend of Jack. Red on yellow  – a bad fellow.”

A blue Skink was next and amazed the children on how he could flatten his body to fit between rocks. Last, but certainly far from being the least, was an alligator named Skeeters.

As the dangers of alligators were pointed out it was also noted that Skeeter’s mouth was taped shut as a precaution.

At the close of the show, the children were invited to file past the alligator, situated firmly on the Wrangler’s lap, where the more adventurous ones had the opportunity to pet it.